April 21, 2024


A turf war is building up in the US over the lucrative field of cosmetic surgery. Lured by a better lifestyle and higher pay for less work, doctors are deserting conventional specialties and hanging up shingles as “cosmetic surgeons”, “aesthetic surgeons” and laser surgeons”. Established doctors are upset by the newcomers. Dentists are doing Botox, and urologists are doing hair transplants and vein removal,” says New York dermatologist Ellen Gendler. Everyone wants to be a plasticologist [sic].”

Established doctors claim that the field requires specialist training, but squatters say that beauty treatment is far less complicated than Caesareans or appendicectomies and that professional development classes can quickly bring them up to speed. One obstetrician and gynaecologist told the New York Times that she and her business partner refer difficult procedures to a dermatologist. Specialists, however, tell horror stories of patients who received botched treatments from doctors practicing out of their scope. The root of the conflict appears to be money. Americans are spending US$12 billion a year on cosmetic medicine and many doctors want a piece of the action.